The Irish Sea Cycle Route Blog Archive

Reflections of riding the Irish Sea Cycle Route.

Wales - Machynlleth to Porthmadog

Afon Dyfi or River Dovey is a huge estuary that brings us inland for the river crossing near the wonderful ancient town of Machynlleth.

Proud of my accepted pronunciation, I left the town verbalising my new-found knowledge: "Mackkkkinllleth … Mackkkkinllleth … Mackkkkinllleth!"

I was most pleased.


Afon Dyfi (River Dovey) near Machynlleth

On the national cycle route 82, over the bridge I went left to Pennal then Cwrt. It’s here I decided to leave the busy road to Aberdovey and take the quiet road through the aptly named Happy Valley. It’s a short cut over the hill - a distinct climb with a summit. The pleasant narrow road winds its way uphill, through forest to an isolated spot at the summit followed by gravity-assisted ride through a delightful valley.

Happy Valley

the summit of Happy Valley, near Machynlleth

At Tywyn, the natural features of the coastline push us inland negotiating a route bypassing water inlets and rocky cliffs. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to seek out the quiet lanes passing remote hamlets and farmsteads and occasional railway stations such as Tonfanau.


the small hamlet of Tonfanau

I rejoined the main coastal road at Rhoslefain to reach Barmouth via the railway viaduct across the estuary. I found the A493 quite busy but it offers superb views of sea and surf. I took some interest in the wonderful practice of knit-bombing in the village of Llwyngwril. All the road furniture and more is covered in knitted jackets, another enduring memory.


Knit-bombing in Llwyngwril

After Barmouth, I follow the NCN 8, in Dyffryn Ardudwy, I take a B-road to give some respite from the traffic to Llanfair. I sneak into Harlech at the back of the castle, it’s impressive looking down into the town from Strydd Fawr.


from Stryd Fawr in Harlech

The B4573 is a fabulous alternative to the main trunk road, no doubt this was the main road to Harlech before construction of the A496, it’s perfect for the cyclist. After Talsarnau, I find my way on cycleways through Penryndeudraeth, across the causeway into Porthmadog.


Porthmadog Harbour
Places of Interest along the way
Machynlleth Ancient Town Barmouth Harbour Fairbourne Railway and Ferry Harlech Town Harlech Castle Porthmadog Ffestiniog Railway Welsh Highland Heritage Railway